I got to meet Rushikesh's wife, Megane, and his adorable girls: Mika and Shrushti, seven and three respectively. They are absolutely delightful.
Mika's the quiet, shy one and the younger girl clearly doesn't have any problem with being loud. Lots of energy in that one. After she walmed to me she started grabbing my leg and hiding behind me, before running back around to the other side and giggling like a mad woman.
Here's Shrushti with her Aji (grandmother) and my Aai.
We packed lots of activities into two days including:
--A trip to the Indian version of a Barnes and Noble. It even had the promise of a coffee shop upstairs. I ordered three Indian comedies recommended by the new post-colonial lit Professor starting at Carleton next year. Somehow, I managed to keep myself from ordering the new Harry Potter book too. They're going pretty crazy about that over here.
--I saw something known as a thread ceremony on Sunday morning. It takes when a Hindu boy is 12, and sybolizes his transition into maturity in his studies. He gets his entire head, but a circular patch, shaved and then everyone feeds him to show that this is the last time he can eat off of his mother's plate.
In the past, the boy would go to live with his teacher/guru for about a decade to study, but now, like most traditions, it's just an excuse to party. The kid was pretty big for his age, so many of the rituals, like having the kid sit on his father's lap, became more comical than reverential.
And no, I am not the only one who thought so.
Here's my host family's daughter Pria with another guest at the thread ceremony.--Pria and I went straight from the thread ceremony to a birthday party for a 6 month baby girl. She was born in America and will have her first birthday there, so the whole family decided to celebrate in advance. The child's great, great grandparents, got to hold little Keayaa and look at her face in bowl of pure ghee (clarified butter), while their children blew silver flowerd over their heads. The great, great grandmother was absolutely crying with joy.